William and Mary Law School

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. When is the library open?
  2. Do students have after-hours access?
  3. When are books due?
  4. How do I find a book?
  5. How do I check out a book?
  6. I looked for my book on the shelf, but it's not there. Now what do I do?
  7. Can we borrow books from other libraries?
  8. Where are the photocopiers?
  9. Are there any study carrels available for student use?
  10. Can I reserve a room for study purposes?
  11. I have to watch a video for class. Where can I do that in the library?
  12. Where are the lockers and what are they for?

Circulation Desk Hours

Academic Semesters

Monday - Thursday 7:30 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.

Friday 7:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Saturday 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Sunday 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.

Fall/Spring Breaks, Interims & Holidays

Monday - Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.

Saturday 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Sunday 1:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

During breaks and holidays, evening, weekend, and holiday desk hours are scheduled according to the availability of staff and students. Patrons should call 221-3260 to determine exact opening and closing times. Reduced desk hours are usually posted on doors and on this website.

The Law Library is closed Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year's Eve and New Year's Day.


After Hours Access

Law students and faculty can access the law school building and library 24 hours daily.

You should swipe yourID card in the card reader on the front door to the Law School and the card reader on the library door to make sure that it's properly programmed.(The reader will flash a green light if your card works.) Report any problem to the Circulation Department.


Borrowing Privileges

The Law School Community

Faculty - The faculty of the Law School may check out circulating books and journals until January 2 of the following year. Reference, reserve and special subject materials are checked out for one week, unless a special request is made for an extension. Document delivery provides a courier service for picking up and returning materials from other William & Mary campus libraries.

Students - Law students may check out most books for thirty days. Reserve items are checked out for four hours or one day, depending upon the specific item. Carrels, with slightly extended borrowing privileges, are available to law reviews, student organizations, law faculty research assistants, and students working on sizable legal research projects.

Staff - Staff of the law school and library may check out circulating books for thirty days and selected non-circulating items for one day. Reserve items are checked out for four hours or one day, depending upon material type.

The William & Mary Community

Faculty - College faculty may check out circulating books for 120 days. Reserve items are checked out for four hours or one day, depending upon material type.

Students - Undergraduate and graduate students of the College may check out circulating books for thirty days. Reserve items are checked out for four hours or one day, depending upon material type.

Staff - College staff may check out circulating books for thirty days. Reserve items are checked out for four hours or one day, depending upon material type.

The Virginia Bench and Bar

Attorneys and Judges in Virginia - Active members of the Virginia Bar are invited to purchase a library card for $5.00. With this card, patrons may check out circulating books for thirty days. Reserve items check out for four hours or one day, depending upon material type. In addition, Document Delivery Services are available for patrons interested in obtaining copies from materials owned by the library. Copies are sent via email, fax, or U.S. mail, with a bill for the copies mailed later.

Residents of Williamsburg, James City County, and York County

Residents - Williamsburg, James City County and York County residents are invited to purchase a library card for $5.00. With this card, patrons may check out circulating books for thirty days. Reserve items check out for four hours or one day, depending upon material type. In addition, Document Delivery Services are available for patrons interested in obtaining copies from materials owned by the library. Copies are sent via email, fax, or U.S. mail, with a bill for the copies mailed later.

The General Public - Members of the general public are welcome to use library materials within the library. As a federal government document selected depository, members of the public are welcomed to use depository materials received by the library. Patrons who are not in one of the above categories and want to borrow a circulating book should contact the interlibrary loan department of their public library. Any questions about borrowing privileges may be directed to the circulation staff.


Checking Out Library Materials

Loan Periods - The standard student loan period for circulating materials is thirty days.

Reserve Materials - The reserve collection, located behind the Circulation Desk, includes study aids such as hornbooks, nutshells, Examples and Explanations, the Roadmap series, frequently used treatises, a number of current Virginia treatises, and audio and video materials. Class readings placed on temporary reserve by law faculty are also available at the Circulation Desk. Reserve materials are noted as "LAW-RSV" in the library's online catalog. Reserve materials, both permanent and class reserves, normally circulate for four hours. Some, like videos/DVDs, circulate for one day.

Materials which may be used only within the library:

  • Reporters and statutes
  • Reference materials and finding aids (citators, encyclopedias, indexes, digests)
  • Non-print media
  • Individual volumes from multi-volume sets
  • Periodicals, both bound and unbound
  • All other material labeled "does not circulate."

Fines/Lost Books

Reserve materials: one dollar per hour with a maximum fine of $25.00 per item.

Circulating materials: patrons who do not return library materials after overdue notices are sent will be charged the cost of replacing the book, if still in print, and a $20.00 handling fee. For out of print books a fee of $60.00 plus a $20.00 handling fee is charged.


Library Catalog

The Williamsburg Regional Libraries Partnership's online catalog allows patrons to search library materials owned by the law library, Swem Library (main college library), and other College libraries. Public terminals are located on each floor of the library. Questions may be addressed to the circulation or reference staffs.


When a Book Is Not on The Shelf

When the catalog indicates that a book status is available (i.e., in the "STACKS"), but it is not on the shelf, or when an unclassified book (one without a call number label), such as case reporters, federal codes, etc., is not on the shelf, report the title to the circulation staff. There are a number of possible places to check:

  • New Books - New books are held in the Technical Services Department following processing for approximately one month. New books may be checked out early when a patron requests the title. See our New Acquisitions lists for the latest arrivals.
  • Carrel Collections & Law Faculty Check Out - Many library materials may be checked out by law students to a carrel collection or by law faculty to their office. Materials in carrel collections or faculty offices display in the catalog as checked out. Check with the circulation staff to find out in which carrel a book is located. Students may briefly look at a carrel collection book, but please return it promptly to the carrel. For books checked out to faculty, we may be able to retrieve the title for a brief cite check or to allow a student to photocopy an article.
  • Bindery Books - Books or periodical issues may be at the bindery. There is a list of titles currently at the bindery located at the circulation desk. If the book or periodical issue is still in processing students may request that circulation staff retrieve the title for them to copy an article or check a cite.
  • Books in Technical Services for Processing - At times a title is removed from the shelf and taken to Technical Services for brief periods. It may be possible to retrieve the book for a quick check, or request the book when it is returned.

"Search/Hold" Forms - If necessary, a "search/hold form" should be completed and left at the circulation desk. Staff will search to determine if the book is misshelved or actually missing from the collection. Someone will contact you and let you know whether the book was located or is actually missing.


Interlibrary Loan

Interlibrary Loan services are offered only to William and Mary School of Law faculty, staff and students. These services consist of borrowing books and obtaining materials unavailable at this library or missing from the collection that are required for academic and research purposes, and lending materials to other libraries. All such services are pursuant to the stipulations specified within the Interlibrary Loan Code of the American Library Association.

Non-law students and other patrons are requested to contact their own academic or public libraries for similar services.

Use an ILL request form to start the ILL process. Requests should be filled in as completely as possible.

Please allow 7-10 days for the receipt of books from Virginia libraries. Books requested from out-of-state locations may take longer. Upon receipt, interlibrary loans will be retained on the "hold" shelf in Room L111. Most books are lent for 3-4 weeks, with renewals at the discretion of the lending library.

Upon pickup, the recipient is required to sign for the item and pay any costs incurred from the lending library. Although we are a free reciprocal library, some out-of-state libraries impose charges for both books and photocopies, and usually for fax services. When possible, we try to borrow materials free of charge. We will notify you before asking other libraries for your requested materials if there will be a cost to you for doing so.


Making Photocopies

Photocopy Equipment - The library maintains five public access photocopiers. Two copiers are on the main floor in the copier room located near Reference, two machines are located in the copier room on the second floor, and one photocopier is located in the Computer Training Lab suite on the ground floor (basement). See maps of the Library.

Photocopy Cards - All copiers are operated with a Wolf Law Library Photocopy Account. No other copy cards will work with Law Library copiers.

Funds may be added to your Photocopy Account at the Circulation Desk, with cash or by check. Black & white or color copies cost $0.10 each.

Our copiers also double as scanners for users with W&M email addresses. Scanning (color or black & white) is free.

General Public Photocopiers - The general public may use any of the library photocopiers. One copier one the first floor accepts coins. Patrons using coins have priority on the coin-operated machine. Members of the public may open a Photocopy Account, or borrow the Visitor Account card from the circulation desk. Copies made with coins or with the visitor card cost $0.10 each.

More information - see Copying & Printing.


Study Carrels

A number of library carrels are permanently assigned to various law school groups. Students participating in these groups, as well as faculty research assistants and law students involved in long term research projects, may reserve a carrel for a semester by contacting the circulation staff. Any student or library patron may use a reserved carrel for short periods when the individual or organization reserving the carrel is not using it. A carrel collection policy is affixed to each carrel, or may be obtained at the Circulation Desk. All carrel users must follow the carrel collection policy.


Group Study Rooms

There are 12 study group rooms located in the library. See the library maps for locations of each room.

You can reserve a room using the W&M's room reservation system. Instructions for logging in are on the library's Services page.


Video Viewing Rooms

Many of the study rooms have TVs which can be hooked up to your laptop to watch DVDs. There are VCRs in the second floor study rooms if you need to watch something on VHS videotape.


Library Lockers

Storage lockers for personal items are located in the lounge and hallway of the ground floor, the lounge on the main floor, and along the north wall of the top floor of the Library. Law students may reserve a locker for the school year by registering at the circulation desk on the first day of class. Lockers are assigned on a first come, first served basis. Students may request a particular number and location if they wish. There is a $10.00 replacement charge for lost locker keys.